Fatherhood is an important role that many men look forward to taking on. While some may have months to prepare for the birth of their child, others may learn that they are fathers only after their kids come into the world. In Wisconsin, there are three ways that a man may be established as the legal father of a child.

One of the most straightforward ways for a man to be legally recognized as a child’s father is through the execution of a voluntary paternity acknowledgement. This document is used after a baby is born and when a child’s mother is certain of the identity of the child’s father. Both of the child’s parents are required to sign the acknowledgement to make the father recognized as such.

Another option for establishing legal fatherhood in Wisconsin is through intervention by the courts. Either a mother or a presumptive father may initiate court proceedings regarding the paternity of a child. During such proceedings a man may be asked to submit to genetic testing to determine if he has a biological connection to the child in question.

Finally, a man may be recognized as a child’s legal father when he marries the child’s mother after the child’s birth and the parents sign off on an acknowledgement of a marital child document. While these three options for establishing legal fatherhood, also known as paternity, may seem simple, readers are reminded that this post is informative and not a comprehensive legal guide. Readers should talk to their trusted family law attorneys to better understand their options for establishing paternity and gaining access to their children who they love and wish to support.